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Current Night Sky

Manitoba Skies – September 2021

September brings cooler temperatures, and the official beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. Ironically, though, we’re still seeing the summer constellations in the early evening. This is because, although the constellations are sinking into the west earlier and earlier each day, the sun is also setting earlier each day. The result is a sort of “freeze frame” of the early evening sky, which lets us spend a bit more time with the summer stars before fall truly begins.

Solar System

Mercury is visible in the evening sky from places farther south than Manitoba, but it sets in a bright sky very soon after the sun. The same angles that have conspired to keep Venus so low in the sky these past few months make Mercury almost unobservable for Manitoban skywatchers.

Venus is visible low in the west-northwest immediately after sunset, and is visible for an hour or so before setting. The thin crescent moon passes nearby on the evening of September 9th (see Sky Calendar entry below).

Mars is passing behind the sun and unobservable from Earth this month.

Jupiter is low in the southeast as darkness falls, the brightest star-like object visible. It is at its highest point before midnight, still fairly low in the south. By dawn is is setting in the southwest.

Saturn is to Jupiter’s right, much fainter but still brighter than any of the stars in that part of the sky. It’s low in the south by 11 p.m. and sets after 3 a.m. in the southwest.

Sky Calendar

All times are given in Central Daylight Time (UTC-5), the regular time for Manitoba this month. (Note that the phases on the Moon are adjusted for our time zone, and so they may not match the dates on your calendar which may use either Greenwich time or Eastern Time, depending on where it was published.) All sky views are created with Stellarium software (stellarium.org).

Thu Sept 2 2021: The Manitoba Museum’s Planetarium premieres the new show “Mars: One Thousand One”, which follows the exploits of a future human mission to Mars. For tickets and showtimes visit the Planetarium’s main page.

Mon 6 Sep 2021: New Moon

Thu 9 Sep 2021: The thin crescent moon is just above and to the right of Venus, low in the west-southwest after sunset. Start looking a bit before 8 p.m. local time.

Mon 13 Sep 2021: First Quarter Moon

Thu Sep 16 2021: The waxing gibbous moon is below Saturn tonight.

Fri Sep 17 2021: The nearly-full moon is below Jupiter this evening.

Mon Sep 20 2021: Tonight’s Full Moon is known as the Harvest Moon, since its light would help farmers bringing in the harvest.

Wed Sep 22 2021: The Autumnal Equinox occurs at 2:21 p.m. Central Daylight Time, marking the astronomical start of fall for the northern hemisphere (and spring in the southern hemisphere).

Tue Sep 28 2021: Last Quarter Moon

To find out when the International Space Station passes over your location, visit heavens-above.com and enter your location.